The legacy of soldiers who left Ireland hundreds of years ago to fight for continental armies will be explored at a public lecture next week.
During the early modern
period of European history – from around 1500 to 1800 – many tens of thousands
of Irish men left home to enlist in armies abroad, principally those of France
and the Hasburgs, then Europe's richest family.
They become known as 'The Wild
Geese' – latterly the inspiration for the title of the 1978 film of the same
name starring Richard Burton and Roger Moore as British mercenaries.
However, much about these
Irish soldiers remains relatively unclear.
"While the Wild Geese have
not lacked a historian, the numbers who left Ireland,
their motives for leaving, their impact on the host societies, and the memory
of their exploits in Ireland
are still debated," explained Thomas Bartlett, Professor of Irish History at
the University of
His public lecture on the Wild
Geese will take place at King's College Conference Centre on Monday, November
10 at 6pm as part of the University
of Aberdeen's Inaugural
He said: "The lecture will
seek to outline earlier writings on these soldiers and address some of the
other issues surrounding their role and legacy in modern Irish history. It will
also examine Irish attitudes towards the British Empire
in the nineteenth century."
Professor Bartlett's lecture The
Wild Geese. Reflections on the History of the Irish soldiers in the Service of
France in the Eighteenth Century takes place on Monday, November 10 at 6pm at
the Kings College Conference Centre, University
The lecture will be followed by an informal wine reception.
Places are free for the lecture,
and can be booked online at www.abdn.ac.uk/inaugurallectures
or by calling 01224 273 874.